With summer approaching, the OPW (http://gnome.org/opw/) comes up with new projects and organisations giving wonderful opportunities to women to explore open source world. First timers can be quite confused how to proceed and what to do. Here is a small guide I hope will be useful to all.
The key to success is starting early. This is very important as things in open source projects can be quite alien to you and might require a lot of time to understand. Even solving bugs sometimes can be difficult if one is an amateur in that area/language. Starting early will help you to take your time and not cramp things in the last minute. This will also increase the possibility of your acceptance. Make sure you start with couple of organisations you are interested in and finally narrow it down to one when you are confident. You can also apply for more than one organisation too.
It is very important to ask questions whenever in doubt even though it may seem quite silly to you or the person answering. Nobody expects you to know everything when you enter. The people in these organisations are very friendly and will patiently answer your doubts. This will also help mentors to understand to your progress. It will build a good relationship with your mentors as they are the people who will be guiding you all along your project. But remember, don’t ask to ask. Do not ask questions like : ” Hey, I am having some problem with the code. Can somebody help me”. Ask the right questions. Be specific of what your problem is.
Choose your domain
Choose the project which is interesting to you. If you feel it is a burden, then it is not what you want to do. Go through the prerequisites and see what match with your skill list.There are many interesting projects which come up every year from coding to documentation. You can come up with your own proposal too. If you find a project interesting, you can try even if you don’t have the required skills. It might be difficult initially but it is worth learning. Trust me!! Where better than internships to learn new things. But you don’t want to miss out the fun element.
Solve bugs or build applications
Solve bugs which are generally put up in the issues page, which every organisation has. Or build an application useful for the project. These are just to understand that you have sufficient knowledge of the domain and the project. Add your past work and experience to your application.
It is VERY important to behave properly. Many people around the world would be working in these organisations along with you. A sense of proper behavior is expected of everyone. NO slang, foul language is allowed. There is a lot of info about ethics of opensource in the internet which you can . Be respectful to your peers and mentors.
Mentors are humans too
Mentors are just like you, contributing along with various other activities in their life. Be patient if your mentor doesn’t reply immediately. They will surely get back to you.
Be determined and work hard
Finally it is your determination and hard work which will decide your acceptance. Be focused and spend quality amount of time on your application. You will definitely get through it.
These are useful if you are applying for GSOC too. If your organisation is participating in both OPW and GSOC you can apply for both. You can later discuss with your mentor on which to choose. So all the best for all the aspirants. Hope you have a wonderful summer ahead !!